A TRIO who robbed a man of his shoes at knifepoint in an early hours street attack have been jailed.

The gang brandished a blade and a house brick as they targeted their victim in an alleyway in Latchford as he was walking home alone in the dark.

Chester Crown Court heard on Monday that he had visited the Esso garage on Knutsford Road at around 2am on Friday, April 12, to buy a can of Coca Cola and credit for his mobile phone.

As he made his way home along the main road smoking a cigarette, he heard a male voice saying ‘ask that man for a ciggie’.

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When he looked up, he saw the three defendants – Jack Giblin, Christopher Wood and James Lee.

After giving Lee a cigarette, the victim asked if the 22-year-old could get him some cannabis.

All four then began to walk back towards the garage, but Giblin brandished a knife from his coat pocket and marched the man down an alley.

Twenty-eight-year-old Wood, of Reynolds Street in Latchford, then picked up the brick and stood over him holding it.

Warrington Guardian:

Christopher Wood

Giblin, described in court as being the ringleader during the attack, ordered the victim to take off his coat and give him all of his belongings.

The 21-year-old, of Fox Street in Whitecross, then demanded that the victim take off his trainers and a gold chain he was wearing around his neck.

In all, the trio took his coat, jewellery, shoes, mobile phone and cash before throwing his keys over a nearby fence.

The victim was able to hail a passing police car and all three were arrested nearby – with Giblin and Lee, of James Lee House, found in possession of his property.

Warrington Guardian:

Jack Giblin

Giblin admitted robbery and possession of a bladed article in a public place, while Wood was found guilty of the same charges after a trial.

Both were jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Lee admitted robbery, possession of a bladed article in a public place and theft – having also pinched three bottles of wine from the same garage in the hours before the attack.

He was handed three years and four months behind bars.

Warrington Guardian:

James Lee

Sentencing, recorder Mark Ford said: “This was a joint enterprise which concerned the targeting of a person who was vulnerable because it was the night-time and he was on his own.

“He must have been terrified.

“The consequences that can flow from someone arming themselves with a knife can be serious, it is fortunate it was not used to inflict injury.

“Plainly, this is a case where immediate custody is inevitable.”

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All three defendants have a long criminal record – with offences including burglary, fraud and causing grievous bodily harm – and were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the robbery.

The court heard how the victim feared he was going to be stabbed if he did not hand over his possessions.

Cheshire Police inspector Neil Drum said: “The victim was subjected to a terrifying ordeal, being threatened and then robbed at knifepoint by the offenders.

“They left him having to retrieve his keys that they had thrown over a fence, and they also left him facing the prospect of having to walk home barefoot.

“Thankfully he saw police officers nearby, who helped him in his understandably distressed state and were able to locate and arrest the offenders a short time after the robbery occurred – they were also able to recover the stolen items from the offenders and have them returned to the victim.

“I am delighted that Jack Giblin, Christopher Wood and James Lee have now received custodial sentences for the robbery, and I hope that this brings some closure to the victim –I also hope that the sentences imposed serve as a deterrent to other people and prevents them from committing similar crimes, and that it sends out a strong message that knife crime will not be tolerated.

“At Cheshire Police, we are committed to doing all we can to tackle knife crime.

“We will respond robustly to any knife-related incidents and ensure that anyone found to be carrying a knife or committing a knife-related offence is brought to justice.

“But the police cannot beat knife crime without the help of the rest of the community, and we urge anyone with information about people who may be carrying knives to come forward and speak to us or Crimestoppers, in confidence, by calling 0800 555 111.”